Adolescent fighting affects 25 % of youth, with the highest rates among African-Americans and Latinos but little is known about parental views on youth fighting. The purpose of this study was to examine African-American and Latino parents’ perspectives on adolescent fighting and methods to prevent fighting. We conducted four focus groups with parents of African-American and Latino urban adolescents. Focus groups were stratified by race/ethnicity and fighting status. Groups were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed by three independent coders using thematic content analysis. Seventy-six percent of the 17 participants were female. Latino parents condoned fighting only as a last resort, and taught children about consequences of fighting, emotional regulation, and non-violent conflict-resolution strategies. African-American parents endorsed teaching non-violent strategies, but expressed some doubts about their effectiveness. African-American parents also suggested corporal punishment, but acknowledged that this may not be an optimal long-term strategy. Positive role modeling and involvement by teachers and other adults were cited as having important roles in fighting prevention. Suggested interventions included teaching adolescents non-violent conflict-resolution skills, anger management, and alternatives to fighting. Parents recommended that violence prevention programs incorporate the experiences of former fighters and be tailored to community needs. Study findings suggest that youth violence-prevention programs may benefit from addressing parental attitudes towards fighting and parent–child communication about fighting, teaching adolescents non-violent conflict-resolution skills, and tailoring programs by race/ethnicity. Promoting positive modeling and involvement by teachers and other adults also may be beneficial.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies